Accuracy in Media

In an MSNBC segment on abortion with former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle gave free messaging advice on how abortion providers can win over the public.

The MSNBC conversation was around the Trump administration’s considering possible cuts to prevent health care providers, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving Title X funding if they provided abortions.

Though Ruhle positions herself as a neutral reporter, she offered her support for Planned Parenthood and positioned pro-life people as ignorant of how federal funding of abortion works.

“There are people who simply want to continue this narrative, and it works, that Planned Parenthood is the abortion store,” Ruhle said. “Is there an argument to be made, simply do something to put an end to this. Is it a PR issue? How many extended family meals do I have to go to arguing ‘That’s not how Planned Parenthood works’?”

Ruhle did not challenge self-reported data from Planned Parenthood saying that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services were abortion services.

Lila Rose from Live Action wrote that the statistic is misleading because of how Planned Parenthood categorizes its services. The data also doesn’t inform MSNBC viewers the high abortion market share that Planned Parenthood has.

“Well actually, most people in America know that’s not how Planned Parenthood works,” Richards told Ruhle. “We actually operate just like every other hospital and health care provider. Federal funds don’t go for abortion, they go for birth control, and in fact, you could argue, as I have many times, we do more to prevent unintended pregnancy and abortion than any organization in this country.”

Ruhle asked Richards and other abortion proponents to be more articulate in how they discuss the intensely controversial practice.

“But that’s the argument that we hear when funding does get cut, or the threat, ‘Well, you know it’s the pro-life community that doesn’t support it,’” Ruhle said. “So why not make it more clear?”

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